As work space is increasingly at a premium, previously unassociated brands and sectors will come together to occupy shared spaces. In this way they will be able to pursue individual, bilateral and collaborative business goals. Crucially, the workplace will be about cross-pollinating ideas.
The rise in popularity of co-working spaces in urban centres attests to the value of sharing ideas with other businesses categories. Nine out of 10 co-working spaces are expected to attract more members this year, according to The Global Coworking Survey, while 75% expect to increase their earnings.
At present, the Convergent Workhouse is suited to freelancers and start-ups eager to cut rental costs and to network with other entrepreneurs. But Beau Button, founder of collaborative workspace The Dojo in New Orleans, believes that it is a matter of time before they are adopted by larger brands.
"These spaces are melting pots of creativity. They generate a level of synergy that results from the proximity and collaboration of like-minded people. New relationships are developed. Ideas are challenged. Problems are solved."
Out with the old
And this, of course, will be the real goal of business in the future; to generate value as well as developing products.
It is about designing virtual and real systems that allow co-workers and collaborators to generate a new kind of social, cultural and commercial currency – one that is agile, weightless, innovative and always open to embracing the new, the next and the most advantageous in terms of future opportunities.
Technology has allowed these things to happen, freeing us from the very physical and restrictive demands of wires, cabling, desktop and cumbersome storage systems, and enabling us to to live in the cloud. But this is only the beginning of the journey.
"The future is collaborative"
"As teens and early 20somethings enter the workplace with no memory of the world without the cloud – these are teenagers, after all, who find desktops as outlandish as fax machines and regard laptops as cumbersome techologies used by their parents – we can only imagine how they will once again alter the environment in which we do business," concludes The Future Laboratory co-founder, Chris Sanderson.
But one thing is certain, he believes. "The future is collaborative. It is cloud-based and, more than anything else, it is increasingly about brands, businesses or corporations being more cultural, artisanal and using the seamlessness of technology to facilitate what we believed technology would prevent us from doing – becoming more intimate, local and social."
If the 20th century was about using technology to build a global corporation, Sanderson believes the 21st century is all about using it to build a more social and human one.
- Aruba Networks conducted this whitepaper with global trends and insight consultancy, The Future Laboratory. Follow the link for Part 1.